Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cleveland 94, Boston 93

First of all, to anyone one who watched that entire game: well done. That game was both awful and awesome. The first quarter was particularly painful to watch. The second wasn't much better.

17%? 17%!? Remember how I said the Cavs won't shoot the ball every game like they did vs Chicago? Well, they seemed dead set to prove me right. The Cavs shot 17% for the first quarter, that's beyond awful. And 6 minutes into the second quarter they actually brought the average down to 16%. Down from 17%? I'm not even mad, that's amazing.

I can't stress enough how awful the first 3 quarters were. First of all, ugly to watch. But combined with Fred McLeod homerisms and Austins Carr's inane comments, it was borderline torturous. The Celtics were ahead from anywhere from 18-25 and Austin kept calling them pesky and said "they keep hanging around". Pesky? Hanging around? They're beating Cleveland by 25 points! Pesky? Pesky!?!

Did they not take the Celtics seriously? For the first 3 quarters, the Cavs were listless. It was looking like they'd be 3-3 with wins versus 3 playoff teams and losses versus 3 bottom feeders. At first they were actually getting and taking good shots, they just weren't falling. After they missed a few, the team just starting rushing and over thinking each shot (instead of just shooting).

Drew Gooden pulled a Drew Gooden. My major criticism of Gooden over the years is that he disappears every now and then. Before tonight, he had 5 straight good/great games and I wondered if he finally 'got it'. Well, Drew had a stinker of a game tonight and wasn't a factor at all. It could just a one game aberration, I sure hope so. Hell, I'll take 5/6 games of good production (of course, Brown only gave him 15 minutes, but it just wasn't Drew's night).

Sasha Pavlovic had a monster game. I can't stress this enough. Monster. Game. Sasha was one of the few bright spots in the first half and I thought Brown left him on the bench too long to start the second. He had 14 points over all and hit two huge 3's in the fourth quarter. Like Gooden, Sasha's problem in the past has been his consistency. If he can keep his production up anywhere near this level, the Cavs will be very well off.

The offense. The Cavs didn't go inside or really attack the rim until the fourth quarter. Again they settled for too many jumpers and didn't use the post enough for my taste. Late in the 3rd it looked like the Cavs finally realized that none of the Celtic big men are that good and just started to attack.

The defense. Again, like the rest of the game, for the first 3 quarters, it was awful. Sebastian Telfair just killed them. The Cavs will always have trouble with quick guards, but Telfair doesn't exactly have a quality jumper. He got to the rim at will tonight. One thing I don't understand is the Cavs defensive rotations. The Celtics would run a high screen and the Cavs would switch (instead of fighting through the picks). That left Telfair (or Delonte West) with the ball and going one on one versus Z, Gooden or Varejao. Not surprisingly, their guards got to the rim. Late in the game, the Cavs were fighting through picks (and getting stops), why they didn't do this the entire game, I'll never know.

LeBron dominated, especially late. He seemed to get fed up of all those jump shots and he just started driving to the hoop, just dragging the Celtics along with him. He had a couple 'and-ones'and he was draining his free throws (19-23). At the end, he was guarding Paul Peirce and actually playing some pretty good D.

Was it just me, or did Varejao grab every rebound down the stretch. Andy ended with 10 boards, but it seemed like every time the Celtics missed down the stretch, Varejao ended up with the ball. For the Cavs as a team, this was the first game they didn't out rebound their opponent (both teams ended with 42 boards).

It might be time to start Damon Jones. That's a scary thought, but he played some non-awful defense down the stretch. If he can do that with any sort of regularity, he should get more minutes (he also hit a clutch 3 as well).

and finally,

Let's see if the Cavs can play a complete game on Monday. The Cavs will be facing another team that, on paper, they should handle with ease in the Knicks. Of course, if LeBron plays well, I'm sure someone will say he loves MSG so much that he can't wait to sign there in 4 years.


jewbacca said...

True true, absolute horror to watch until about 9 left in the 4th. In other news, did you see any of the knicks-spurs game. Mark my words, before the end of the season someone is going to viciously deck Bruce Bowen. I mean, how many times can this happen before someone says, "Ok this guy is dirty. We know hes dirty. Shit, everyone knows hes dirty. Im gonna clock that son of a bitch." Can someone do this already? Ive been waiting for it to happen for years.

Ben said...

Seriously, how many times can he undercut someone on a jumpshot and it be an accident? 2? He does that crap on a regular basis. I love that announcers say shit like "some players accuse Bruce Bowen of being a dirty player". No. Not some players, all players. And it's not accuse, it's "all players know Bruce Bowen is dirty".

It's the worst secret in the league.

Erik said...

Start Damon Jones? It might soon be time to start Sasha Pavlovic.

If the Cavs are serious about this offense that doesn't rely solely on a true point guard, Pavlovic (provided he can sustain his current level of play).

Run the offense through LeBron and Hughes, and places Pavlovic at the off-guard as the kickout option on offense.

Pavlovic can shoot and drive, and he's big enough to take a hit. Of course, he's got to be willing to take a hit, and I'm still not convinced of his toughness. But I do like the way he's been working his butt off at both ends of the floor so far.

It might still be a flight of fancy at this point, but imagine an offense with three perimeter guys all capable of going for more than 20 points on a given night.

Sure beats constantly forcing Snow, Jones and Wesley down our throats.

Ran said...

I was at this game and the comeback was unbelievable. It was great that the crowd stayed until the end and stayed loud and cheered on the team. (Note: It was kid's day, where any kids that came to the game were allowed to shoot free throws on the Cavs court after the game, so anybody who came to the game with kids HAD to stay until the end - this could have been a factor in keeping the arena full despite a 25 point defecit)

I could only give us a B+ for this win because of how terrible Q1-3 were. Good to see that we are able to mount this kind of comeback if we need to.

I have no problem with Snow starting for another few weeks, but before the all-star break, it needs to be somebody else.

The best thing about the Cavs is when they take the ball to the hoop instead of settling for jumpers. Even Snow took it to the hoop twice against Boston, which was big, just like it was when he was doing it against the Wizards in last year's playoffs. When LeBron takes the ball to the hoop, it may just not be contagious enough. When LeBron AND another player do it, it may start to spread throughout the team.

I love Sasha's three point ability, but even more I am excited to watch him take it to the rim.

The player that I thought would have an opportunity to work his way into the starting lineup this year is Shannon Brown, with HIS reputation for taking the ball in strong and for playing solid defense. For the time being, Sasha has the lead though.

On another note, about 25 Cavs fans are gathering together to watch and cheer on the Cavs in Columbus tomorrow night against the Knicks. Everybody is welcome to come on by and talk about this exciting team as they tweak and improve towards an NBA Championship:

Monday, 7:30pm, away at Knicks
Buffalo Wild Wings
110 Hutchinson Avenue
Columbus, OH 43235

I hope to see you there!

- Ran

Ben said...

An offense of LeBron, Hughes, Pavs, Gooden and Z could cause some matchup problems if all the players were to be used correctly (ie Hughes not being a spot up shooter and Z not catching the ball while moving).

I'm not a big fan of Jones starting in general, but like I said, if he can play just a little below average defense (as opposed to the terrible D he played last season), then Brown might consider making the switch (Miami did get to the ECF with Jones starting at point).

I never leave games early if I can help it, I only to a few games a year. Sometimes you see garbage time (which I kinda enjoy) and sometimes you see amazing comebacks (I was at the Tribe-Mariners 12 run comeback game).

You're dead on about the Cavs taking it to the rim. Driving the ball and posting up can get the other team into foul trouble and force them to go to their bench (in addition to getting freebies from the line). The Cavs too often bail out teams by taking too many jumpers.

Pavlovic has always taken the ball to the rim, it's just sometimes he's too out of control (he commits too many charges). Pavs can have a Gooden like tendency to disappear for stretches of time and if the Cavs can keep him involved (actually, both of 'em) the Cavs could be sitting pretty.

As for Shannon Brown, I still believe that we'll see more of him late in the season than we will early.